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  1. Many relief pitchers can be successful by relying on two to three pitches. For instance, Taylor Rogers has found a lot of success at the big-league level by throwing a two-pitch mix with his fastball and a slider. Relievers can use their best pitches, because they don’t have to worry about facing a hitter multiple times in the same game. Some pitchers are forced to adjust their repertoire if they aren’t finding success. Jorge Alcalá was part of one of the biggest trades under the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine regime. He came to the Twins along with Gilberto Celestino as part of the Ryan Pressly deal. At the time of here is what Baseball America said, “Alcalá has a plus-plus fastball, but there are times as a starter where he gears down to try to maintain his stamina. At his best, he’s reached triple digits in the past. There are days when Alcalá looks like a one-pitch pitcher trying to start, but seen on the right days, he has the makings of being a devastating bullpen option.” Alcalá has shown flashes on turning into a devastating bullpen option, but lefties have given him headaches during his big-league career. Entering play on Wednesday, left-handed hitters had posted a .306/.397/.629 (1.026) slash-line when facing Alcalá. Compare that to the .389 OPS righties had compiled against him and it’s easy to see that something was going to have to change if he was going to progress to being used in more high leverage situations. During his big-league tenure, Alcalá has focused on throwing a fastball and a slider and since that hadn’t worked against lefties, the Twins encouraged him to work on his changeup. He threw the pitch to lefties 24 times during the 2020 season and held them to a .125 BA and a .250 SLG. His changeup breaks down and in on lefties which can make it a tough pitch to square up if he is locating it. “(Alcalá is) making adjustments,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s going out there and figuring out that sometimes facing left-handed hitters as a whole and facing left-handers and right-handers is going to be different, and you’re going to have to have — I end up calling them tricks, sometimes, but you end up coming to have a different approach.” Alcalá is going to have to keep working with the pitch and he knows the importance of what it will mean for the future of his career. “What you practice is the result you get,” Alcalá told reporters through an interpreter. “If it’s working for me in the bullpen or in practice, I think it’s going to work for me during the game. That’s my mindset. His changeup is still a work in progress, but it is the pitch that might transform him from middle reliever into a dominant late-inning option. Do you think one pitch can make the difference for Alcalá? Leave a COMMENT and star the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. Minnesota’s run of excellent closers stretches over much of the last two decades. From Joe Nathan to Glen Perkins and now Taylor Rogers, Twins fans have been privy to some great late inning arms. Now, one pitch might turn this pitcher into the Twins future closer. Many relief pitchers can be successful by relying on two to three pitches. For instance, Taylor Rogers has found a lot of success at the big-league level by throwing a two-pitch mix with his fastball and a slider. Relievers can use their best pitches, because they don’t have to worry about facing a hitter multiple times in the same game. Some pitchers are forced to adjust their repertoire if they aren’t finding success. Jorge Alcalá was part of one of the biggest trades under the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine regime. He came to the Twins along with Gilberto Celestino as part of the Ryan Pressly deal. At the time of here is what Baseball America said, “Alcalá has a plus-plus fastball, but there are times as a starter where he gears down to try to maintain his stamina. At his best, he’s reached triple digits in the past. There are days when Alcalá looks like a one-pitch pitcher trying to start, but seen on the right days, he has the makings of being a devastating bullpen option.” Alcalá has shown flashes on turning into a devastating bullpen option, but lefties have given him headaches during his big-league career. Entering play on Wednesday, left-handed hitters had posted a .306/.397/.629 (1.026) slash-line when facing Alcalá. Compare that to the .389 OPS righties had compiled against him and it’s easy to see that something was going to have to change if he was going to progress to being used in more high leverage situations. During his big-league tenure, Alcalá has focused on throwing a fastball and a slider and since that hadn’t worked against lefties, the Twins encouraged him to work on his changeup. He threw the pitch to lefties 24 times during the 2020 season and held them to a .125 BA and a .250 SLG. His changeup breaks down and in on lefties which can make it a tough pitch to square up if he is locating it. “(Alcalá is) making adjustments,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s going out there and figuring out that sometimes facing left-handed hitters as a whole and facing left-handers and right-handers is going to be different, and you’re going to have to have — I end up calling them tricks, sometimes, but you end up coming to have a different approach.” Alcalá is going to have to keep working with the pitch and he knows the importance of what it will mean for the future of his career. “What you practice is the result you get,” Alcalá told reporters through an interpreter. “If it’s working for me in the bullpen or in practice, I think it’s going to work for me during the game. That’s my mindset. His changeup is still a work in progress, but it is the pitch that might transform him from middle reliever into a dominant late-inning option. Do you think one pitch can make the difference for Alcalá? Leave a COMMENT and star the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  3. The 2010s were a rough decade for the Minnesota Twins overall, though they have some fair seasons and a couple of playoff appearances. The final season of the decade was a 102-win season that gives fans hope for the coming decade of baseball. Pitching continued to be a huge question mark for the Twins throughout the decade. However, they did draft and develop Jose Berrios who, at 25, has already pitched in two All-Star Games. With Derek Falvey in charge, the hope is that he will help the organization develop pitching the same way he did in Cleveland. For now, take a look at the choices for five starting pitchers and five relief pitchers of the Twins decade. SP - Ervin Santana (2015-2018) 85 games, 85 starts, 30-25 with 0 saves and a 3.68 ERA in 525 1/3 innings. 414 K. 159 BB. The Twins signed Santana in December 2014 after ten MLB seasons, eight with the Angels. He got a four year, $55 million deal. However, before the 2015 season, he was suspended for 80 games. He pitched the second half of that season and made 30 starts in 2016. Though he went just 7-11, his 3.38 ERA was 25% better than league average. He got off to a great start in 2017 and earned his second career All- Star appearance. Overall, he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA (35% better than league average). He led the league with five complete games and three shutouts. He hurt a finger late in the season and it just didn’t heal in 2018. He tried to come back but it didn’t work. SP - Kyle Gibson (2013-2019) 193 games, 188 starts, 67-68 with 0 saves and a 4.52 ERA in 1,087 innings. 845 K. 392 BB. Gibson was the Twins first-round pick in 2009 out of Missouri. In 2010, he pitched at Ft. Myers, New Britain and Rochester. He was on his way to debuting in 2010, but his elbow didn’t agree. He had Tommy John and returned late in 2012. He made his debut in June 2013 and spent the rest of the decade in a Twins uniform. Gibson remained mostly healthy and provided over 1000 innings. He fit into a category of “generally kept his team in the game” and because of that, he finished with a record right around .500. He won 10 or more games in five of his six full seasons, winning 13 games in 2014 and 2019. His best season was in 2018 when he went just 10-13 but had a 3.62 ERA, 18% better than league average. He fought with ulcerative colitis in 2019, but he took the mound whenever asked. After a dozen years in the Twins organization, Gibson signed a three-year deal with the Rangers in the offseason. SP - Jose Berrios (2016-2019) 104 games, 103 starts, 43-34 with 0 saves and a 4.21 ERA in 596 2/3 innings. 585 K. 195 BB. Berrios was the 32nd-overall pick in the 2012, draft out of Puerto Rico. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. At just 21, he made his MLB debut in April 2016. He really struggled in his rookie season, posting an ERA over 8 in 14 starts. In 2017, he went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA. He made his first All-Star appearance in 2018 when he went 12-11 with a 3.84 ERA in 32 starts. Last season, he returned to the All-Star Game. In 32 starts, he went 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA. He reached 200 innings for the first time in his career. He was set to be the Twins Opening Day starting pitcher again in 2020. SP - Phil Hughes (2014-2018) 92 games, 79 starts, 32-29 with 0 saves and a 4.43 ERA in 489 2/3 innings. 360 K. 63 BB. Hughes was the 23rd overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft. After parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, he signed a three-year deal with the Twins about a week before they signed Santana. He put together an incredible 2014 season. He went 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA. In 209 2/3 innings, he walked just 16 batters. His 0.7 BB/9 and 11.63 K/BB led the league. The latter was an MLB record. Just one out from reaching 210 innings, and a big incentive, his final start ended when there was a rain delay. The Twins ripped up his three-year deal and made it a five-year deal. He went 11-9 with a 4.40 ERA in 27 games in 2015. After that, he struggled with his shoulder and had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. He was unable to pitch consistently from 2016 until he was traded to the Padres early in the 2018 season. SP - Scott Baker (2010-11) 52 games, 50 starts, 20-15 with 0 saves and a 3.90 ERA in 305 innings. 271 K. 75 BB. While Baker’s best season was in 2009, he was still quite productive the first two years of the next decade. In 2010, he went 12-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 29 starts. In 2011, he went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 21 starts before his season came to an end. He ended up needing Tommy John surgery and missed the 2012 season. Between 2013 and 2015, he pitched for the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers. RP - Glen Perkins (2010-2017) 342 games, 1 start, 17-14 with 120 saves and a 3.18 ERA in 342 2/3 innings. 359 K. 84 BB. The Twins drafted Gopher great Glen Perkins with the 22nd overall pick of the 2004 draft. He came up through the minor league system as a starter and debuted late in 2006. He was a starter (and went 12-4 with a 4.41 ERA) in 2008. By 2010, he made the move to the bullpen. He took off in 2011. He posted ERAs of 2.48, 2.56 and 2.30 over the next three years, becoming one of the top left-handed relievers in the game. He became the closer midway through the 2012 season. He was an All-Star in 2013, 2014, and 2015, compiling 102 of his 120 saves in those three seasons. RP - Taylor Rogers (2016-2019) 258 games, 0 starts, 13-10 with 32 saves and a 3.04 ERA in 254 1/3 innings. 278 K. 64 BB. Rogers was the Twins 11th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. He climbed the Twins ladder as a starting pitcher. However, early in 2016, Glen Perkins was hurt and Rogers was called up to work out of the bullpen. He’s been there since, and he has continued to get better as his role has gained leverage. In 2017, he posted a 3.07 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. In 2018, he had a 2.63 ERA anda 0.95 WHIP. Last season, he had a 2.61 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. His strikeout rate over the last three seasons has gone from 7.5 K/9 to 9.9 K/9 to 11.7 K/9 in 2019. He began the 2019 season being used in any late-inning, high-leverage situation. As other options struggled, he began getting more opportunities in the closer’s role. He often worked multiple-innings to record saves. He was also named an all-pro after the season. RP - Brian Duensing (2010-2015) 330 games, 52 starts, 36-35 with 2 saves and a 4.20 ERA in 565 1/3 innings. 375 K. 177 BB. Duensing was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Nebraska. He made his MLB debut in 2009. In 2010, he went 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 53 games and 130 2/3 innings. He moved into the starting rotation for the 2011 season, and struggled. By mid-2012, he moved to the bullpen full time and became a reliable left-handed option for the next three seasons. He was called upon to get one out, pitch an inning or even pitch a couple of innings at a time. He left after the 2015 season and pitched one season with the Orioles before pitching in the Cubs bullpen in 2017 and 2018. RP - Ryan Pressly (2013-2018) 281 games, 0 starts, 17-16 with 1 save and a 3.75 ERA in 317 innings. 282 K. 108 BB. Pressly was a starting pitching prospect with the Red Sox when the Twins picked him with their Rule 5 selection in December of 2012. He impressed in spring training 2013 and made the team. He had a 3.87 ERA in 49 games that season. He was able to be sent to Rochester the next year and split the season between AAA and the big leagues. By 2016, he was an oft-used reliever in the Twins bullpen. He continued to show great stuff so as he worked more, he became a high strikeout pitcher. He was traded to the Astros at the July deadline in 2018 and became even more dominant. Before the trade, he had 69 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He was an All-Star in 2019. RP - Casey Fien (2012-2016) 257 games, 0 starts, 17-15 with 1 save and a 4.21 ERA in 237 1/3 innings. 209 K. 42 BB. Fien pitched in 11 games for the Tigers between 2009 and 2010. He spent 2011 in the minor leagues. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal before the 2012 season. He began in Rochester, but something clicked for him midway through the season, and he took off and earned a call to the Twins where he finished the season posting a 2.06 ERA in 35 games. He spent three seasons as a reliable reliever for the Twins. He struggled early in 2016 and was claimed by the Dodgers. He pitched for Seattle and Philadelphia in 2018. For more from this series, see below. Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team, the '10s (The Hitters)
  4. We come to the end of our review of the history of the Minnesota Twins by looking at All-Decade teams today by posting the Pitchers of the 2010s. It was a tough decade for the Twins overall, but there were still really strong pitching performances as well.The 2010s were a rough decade for the Minnesota Twins overall, though they have some fair seasons and a couple of playoff appearances. The final season of the decade was a 102-win season that gives fans hope for the coming decade of baseball. Pitching continued to be a huge question mark for the Twins throughout the decade. However, they did draft and develop Jose Berrios who, at 25, has already pitched in two All-Star Games. With Derek Falvey in charge, the hope is that he will help the organization develop pitching the same way he did in Cleveland. For now, take a look at the choices for five starting pitchers and five relief pitchers of the Twins decade. SP - Ervin Santana (2015-2018) 85 games, 85 starts, 30-25 with 0 saves and a 3.68 ERA in 525 1/3 innings. 414 K. 159 BB. The Twins signed Santana in December 2014 after ten MLB seasons, eight with the Angels. He got a four year, $55 million deal. However, before the 2015 season, he was suspended for 80 games. He pitched the second half of that season and made 30 starts in 2016. Though he went just 7-11, his 3.38 ERA was 25% better than league average. He got off to a great start in 2017 and earned his second career All- Star appearance. Overall, he went 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA (35% better than league average). He led the league with five complete games and three shutouts. He hurt a finger late in the season and it just didn’t heal in 2018. He tried to come back but it didn’t work. SP - Kyle Gibson (2013-2019) 193 games, 188 starts, 67-68 with 0 saves and a 4.52 ERA in 1,087 innings. 845 K. 392 BB. Gibson was the Twins first-round pick in 2009 out of Missouri. In 2010, he pitched at Ft. Myers, New Britain and Rochester. He was on his way to debuting in 2010, but his elbow didn’t agree. He had Tommy John and returned late in 2012. He made his debut in June 2013 and spent the rest of the decade in a Twins uniform. Gibson remained mostly healthy and provided over 1000 innings. He fit into a category of “generally kept his team in the game” and because of that, he finished with a record right around .500. He won 10 or more games in five of his six full seasons, winning 13 games in 2014 and 2019. His best season was in 2018 when he went just 10-13 but had a 3.62 ERA, 18% better than league average. He fought with ulcerative colitis in 2019, but he took the mound whenever asked. After a dozen years in the Twins organization, Gibson signed a three-year deal with the Rangers in the offseason. SP - Jose Berrios (2016-2019) 104 games, 103 starts, 43-34 with 0 saves and a 4.21 ERA in 596 2/3 innings. 585 K. 195 BB. Berrios was the 32nd-overall pick in the 2012, draft out of Puerto Rico. He was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. At just 21, he made his MLB debut in April 2016. He really struggled in his rookie season, posting an ERA over 8 in 14 starts. In 2017, he went 14-8 with a 3.89 ERA. He made his first All-Star appearance in 2018 when he went 12-11 with a 3.84 ERA in 32 starts. Last season, he returned to the All-Star Game. In 32 starts, he went 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA. He reached 200 innings for the first time in his career. He was set to be the Twins Opening Day starting pitcher again in 2020. SP - Phil Hughes (2014-2018) 92 games, 79 starts, 32-29 with 0 saves and a 4.43 ERA in 489 2/3 innings. 360 K. 63 BB. Hughes was the 23rd overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft. After parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, he signed a three-year deal with the Twins about a week before they signed Santana. He put together an incredible 2014 season. He went 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA. In 209 2/3 innings, he walked just 16 batters. His 0.7 BB/9 and 11.63 K/BB led the league. The latter was an MLB record. Just one out from reaching 210 innings, and a big incentive, his final start ended when there was a rain delay. The Twins ripped up his three-year deal and made it a five-year deal. He went 11-9 with a 4.40 ERA in 27 games in 2015. After that, he struggled with his shoulder and had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. He was unable to pitch consistently from 2016 until he was traded to the Padres early in the 2018 season. SP - Scott Baker (2010-11) 52 games, 50 starts, 20-15 with 0 saves and a 3.90 ERA in 305 innings. 271 K. 75 BB. While Baker’s best season was in 2009, he was still quite productive the first two years of the next decade. In 2010, he went 12-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 29 starts. In 2011, he went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 21 starts before his season came to an end. He ended up needing Tommy John surgery and missed the 2012 season. Between 2013 and 2015, he pitched for the Cubs, Rangers and Dodgers. RP - Glen Perkins (2010-2017) 342 games, 1 start, 17-14 with 120 saves and a 3.18 ERA in 342 2/3 innings. 359 K. 84 BB. The Twins drafted Gopher great Glen Perkins with the 22nd overall pick of the 2004 draft. He came up through the minor league system as a starter and debuted late in 2006. He was a starter (and went 12-4 with a 4.41 ERA) in 2008. By 2010, he made the move to the bullpen. He took off in 2011. He posted ERAs of 2.48, 2.56 and 2.30 over the next three years, becoming one of the top left-handed relievers in the game. He became the closer midway through the 2012 season. He was an All-Star in 2013, 2014, and 2015, compiling 102 of his 120 saves in those three seasons. RP - Taylor Rogers (2016-2019) 258 games, 0 starts, 13-10 with 32 saves and a 3.04 ERA in 254 1/3 innings. 278 K. 64 BB. Rogers was the Twins 11th-round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. He climbed the Twins ladder as a starting pitcher. However, early in 2016, Glen Perkins was hurt and Rogers was called up to work out of the bullpen. He’s been there since, and he has continued to get better as his role has gained leverage. In 2017, he posted a 3.07 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. In 2018, he had a 2.63 ERA anda 0.95 WHIP. Last season, he had a 2.61 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. His strikeout rate over the last three seasons has gone from 7.5 K/9 to 9.9 K/9 to 11.7 K/9 in 2019. He began the 2019 season being used in any late-inning, high-leverage situation. As other options struggled, he began getting more opportunities in the closer’s role. He often worked multiple-innings to record saves. He was also named an all-pro after the season. RP - Brian Duensing (2010-2015) 330 games, 52 starts, 36-35 with 2 saves and a 4.20 ERA in 565 1/3 innings. 375 K. 177 BB. Duensing was the Twins third-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Nebraska. He made his MLB debut in 2009. In 2010, he went 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 53 games and 130 2/3 innings. He moved into the starting rotation for the 2011 season, and struggled. By mid-2012, he moved to the bullpen full time and became a reliable left-handed option for the next three seasons. He was called upon to get one out, pitch an inning or even pitch a couple of innings at a time. He left after the 2015 season and pitched one season with the Orioles before pitching in the Cubs bullpen in 2017 and 2018. RP - Ryan Pressly (2013-2018) 281 games, 0 starts, 17-16 with 1 save and a 3.75 ERA in 317 innings. 282 K. 108 BB. Pressly was a starting pitching prospect with the Red Sox when the Twins picked him with their Rule 5 selection in December of 2012. He impressed in spring training 2013 and made the team. He had a 3.87 ERA in 49 games that season. He was able to be sent to Rochester the next year and split the season between AAA and the big leagues. By 2016, he was an oft-used reliever in the Twins bullpen. He continued to show great stuff so as he worked more, he became a high strikeout pitcher. He was traded to the Astros at the July deadline in 2018 and became even more dominant. Before the trade, he had 69 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. He was an All-Star in 2019. RP - Casey Fien (2012-2016) 257 games, 0 starts, 17-15 with 1 save and a 4.21 ERA in 237 1/3 innings. 209 K. 42 BB. Fien pitched in 11 games for the Tigers between 2009 and 2010. He spent 2011 in the minor leagues. The Twins signed him to a minor league deal before the 2012 season. He began in Rochester, but something clicked for him midway through the season, and he took off and earned a call to the Twins where he finished the season posting a 2.06 ERA in 35 games. He spent three seasons as a reliable reliever for the Twins. He struggled early in 2016 and was claimed by the Dodgers. He pitched for Seattle and Philadelphia in 2018. For more from this series, see below. Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '90s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '00s (The Pitchers) Twins All-Decade Team, the '10s (The Hitters) Click here to view the article
  5. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Ep_461_Signing_Sano.mp3?dest-id=74590
  6. Aaron and John talk about the Twins signing Miguel Sano to a long-term extension, arbitration settlements with everyone except Jose Berrios, the latest on Josh Donaldson, the basics of the arbitration process, and a special clip from the Patreon podcast interview with Glen Perkins. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  7. Much has changed over the past 10 years. The fact really hits home when you consider that, heading into this decade, Target Field had not yet opened its gates. As we turn the page on the 2010s, I thought it might be fun to reflect on some of the best and most memorable moments through 10 years at The Bullseye.10: Outdoor baseball returns to Minnesota (4/12/10) On April 12th, 2010, the Twins christened their new ballpark, hosting the Red Sox on a cloudy and cool Monday afternoon. It wasn't the team's first game at Target Field (a pair of exhibitions against the Cards had been played there 10 days earlier) but this one made it official. For the first time in almost 30 years, Twins fans were able to watch meaningful baseball at home under blue skies rather than a Teflon roof. It was a crisply played 5-2 victory for Minnesota, keyed by Carl Pavano's six strong innings along with three-hit games from Jason Kubel and reigning MVP Joe Mauer. The Twins went on to win their first four series at Target Field and finished 53-28 (.654) at home in the new stadium's inaugural season. 9: Byron Buxton races for record-setting inside-the-park home run (8/18/17) As with many of the moments on this list, I picked this one because it is emblematic of the man behind it. Buxton has had plenty of amazing moments at Target Field since debuting there in 2015, but his inside-the-parker against Arizona in August of 2017 epitomizes the electricity and incredible athleticism that make him such a tremendous joy to watch. Blazing around the bases in 13.85 seconds after his towering drive caromed off the wall in right-center, Buxton set a new Statcast record for the feat, breaking... his own. (Of course.) 6: Eddie Rosario homers on first MLB pitch (5/6/15) From the Department of Can't-Make-This-Stuff-Up: Rosario's big-league debut. Stepping up for his first major-league at-bat in 2015, with his family watching from the Target Field stands, Eddie offered at the first pitch he saw from A's lefty Scott Kazmir and sent it over the left-field wall. For fans, it was the perfect introduction to Rosario, conveying his confidence, aggressive approach, and flare for theatrics. 5: Brian Dozier caps epic comeback against Tigers (7/10/15) Two months after his splashy arrival, Rosario played a role in one of the most exhilarating victories of the decade, setting the stage for Dozier's heroics. The Twins, flirting with contention for the first time in years, were looking to finish out the first half strong with a series against Detroit heading into the break. They'd fallen in the first game and were at risk of another setback, with a 6-1 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth. Rosario delivered an RBI single to bring Minnesota within four. A bases-loaded HBP from Kurt Suzuki and two-run single from Danny Santana trimmed the Tigers' lead to one. Then the lineup turned over and up came Dozier – days away from his first All-Star Game – with two on and one out. Joakim Soria hung a breaking ball, and he paid for it. Any "Best Twins Player of the Decade" discussion should probably start with Dozier. He was the beating heart of those upstart, fringy playoff teams in 2015 and 2017. His 42-homer outburst in 2016 was one of the sole positives in a trainwreck campaign. Twins Daily named Dozier team MVP three straight times. That walk-off shot was perhaps the most transcendent moment in a career full of special ones. 4: Johan Santana is elected to Twins Hall of Fame (8/4/18) While it's fun reminiscing about the last 10 years, and thinking back to the days of Ben Revere catching a Vladimir Guerrero drive off of Carl Pavano, it does emphasize just how LONG ago that was. As we head into the 2020s, distance grows from a bygone era of Twins baseball filled with so many great players, moments, and memories. Johan's Hall of Fame induction in August of 2018 was a big highlight of this decade for me, because it channeled so much of the franchise's past into Target Field – if for one fleeting ceremony. Santana will forever be one of the great success stories in Twins history, and to see him celebrated alongside many of those cherished fellow fixtures from the late Metrodome run – Brad Radke, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, Eddie Guardado – was cool. Especially on a day where Jose Berrios, who is striving to inherit Santana's mantle (an ace that can ACTUALLY beat the Yankees in October), was Minnesota's starting pitcher. 3: Glen Perkins closes out the 2014 All-Star Game (7/15/14) When he retired after the 2017 season, I wrote that if a Twins Daily Hall of Fame were ever established, Perkins would be the first inductee. He was one of the team's best players throughout the site's early years of existence. He once bought a round of beers from the bullpen for TD Pub Crawl attendees. He's an amazing homegrown success story. Oh, and in his post-playing days he's now being described as "Minnesota's Ron Swanson." Sadly, Perk's career peak aligned directly with the grimmest part of the decade for the club. He was an elite closer on a terrible team, and his shoulder gave out just as the Twins began to finally emerge from the struggle. Perkins flat-out deserved to have things play out exactly as they did when the All-Star Game came to Minneapolis in 2014 and shined a national spotlight on Target Field. Trailing early, the American League came back to take a two-run lead, setting up a save opportunity for Minnesota's shutdown closer. Perkins trotted out to his mound, with Twins batterymate and fellow All-Star Kurt Suzuki on the other end, and retired the side in order to seal a win for the AL. You could have hardly scripted a better sequence for his All-Star appearance in front of the home crowd. 2: Jim Thome blasts first Target Field walk-off HR against White Sox (8/17/10) Choosing just one Thome moment (Thoment?) for inclusion on this list was a challenge. In his brief but spectacular Target Field tenure to start the decade, the Hall of Famer gave us plenty of lasting memories, which would largely come to define the ballpark's early legacy. There was the against the Royals in September of 2010. There was his the next summer, estimated at the time as the longest in the stadium's short history at 490 feet. There were his two jacks against Tampa Bay in July of 2010 to tie and then surpass Harmon Killebrew on the all-time home run list. But for me, nothing can beat the clutch tater that Thome thumped against the White Sox in August of 2010. With the Twins down by a run in the bottom of the 10th, the slugger launched a majestic two-run bomb into the plaza, notching the first walk-off home run in Target Field history. That legendary blast sealed a key division win for a team just three games up in the standings, and led to one of the best photos in Twins history. It's a tough moment for any other to top. More than eight years would pass before it finally happened. 1: Joe Mauer dons catcher's gear for one last time (9/30/18) A lot of things needed to go right, and an array of carefully crafted plans had to reach fruition, for Mauer's farewell to play out as it did. Dan Hayes meticulously detailed the story for The Athletic, and it's one of my favorite things he's written. When everything fell into place on the final day of the 2018 season, pure magic was the result. Mauer hadn't explicitly confirmed he was playing his last game as a big-leaguer, but that , and became crystal-clear in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the Twins leading 5-4, Mauer stepped onto the diamond in catcher's gear for the first time in more than five years. He tearfully saluted fans during a lengthy ovation, received one pitch from Matt Belisle, and then walked off Target Field into the proverbial sunset, leaving behind an extraordinary 15-year career.
  8. 10: Outdoor baseball returns to Minnesota (4/12/10) On April 12th, 2010, the Twins christened their new ballpark, hosting the Red Sox on a cloudy and cool Monday afternoon. It wasn't the team's first game at Target Field (a pair of exhibitions against the Cards had been played there 10 days earlier) but this one made it official. For the first time in almost 30 years, Twins fans were able to watch meaningful baseball at home under blue skies rather than a Teflon roof. It was a crisply played 5-2 victory for Minnesota, keyed by Carl Pavano's six strong innings along with three-hit games from Jason Kubel and reigning MVP Joe Mauer. The Twins went on to win their first four series at Target Field and finished 53-28 (.654) at home in the new stadium's inaugural season. 9: Byron Buxton races for record-setting inside-the-park home run (8/18/17) As with many of the moments on this list, I picked this one because it is emblematic of the man behind it. Buxton has had plenty of amazing moments at Target Field since debuting there in 2015, but his inside-the-parker against Arizona in August of 2017 epitomizes the electricity and incredible athleticism that make him such a tremendous joy to watch. Blazing around the bases in 13.85 seconds after his towering drive caromed off the wall in right-center, Buxton set a new Statcast record for the feat, breaking... his own. (Of course.) https://twitter.com/statcast/status/898722220096212992 8: Ben Revere channels Willie Mays in center field (8/22/11) Target Field has seen its share of phenomenal defensive plays, and Mr. Buxton has been responsible for quite a few of them. In my humble opinion, however, none can top this dazzling catch from Revere, which to me is one of those "You remember where you were and who were you with when you saw it" kinds of moments. Defensive play of the decade for Minnesota, from my view. 7: The Rally Squirrel becomes legendary (8/21/19) The beauty of outdoor baseball is that it brings so many variables into play: wind, weather, and the occasional wildlife. In the first year at Target Field, there was the famous moth-eating falcon, which came to be known as Kirby the Kestrel. But the most beloved unticketed visitor waited nearly until the end of the decade to make its appearance: The Rally Squirrel. https://twitter.com/cjzero/status/1163990505140752385 He (or a cohort) had scampered out the previous night, during a losing effort, but this time the squirrel's appearance coincided with a big comeback and flurry of runs for the Twins, who rallied to blow out the White Sox and earn the newly minted mascot its nickname. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1164018758052007937 6: Eddie Rosario homers on first MLB pitch (5/6/15) From the Department of Can't-Make-This-Stuff-Up: Rosario's big-league debut. Stepping up for his first major-league at-bat in 2015, with his family watching from the Target Field stands, Eddie offered at the first pitch he saw from A's lefty Scott Kazmir and sent it over the left-field wall. For fans, it was the perfect introduction to Rosario, conveying his confidence, aggressive approach, and flare for theatrics. 5: Brian Dozier caps epic comeback against Tigers (7/10/15) Two months after his splashy arrival, Rosario played a role in one of the most exhilarating victories of the decade, setting the stage for Dozier's heroics. The Twins, flirting with contention for the first time in years, were looking to finish out the first half strong with a series against Detroit heading into the break. They'd fallen in the first game and were at risk of another setback, with a 6-1 deficit entering the bottom of the ninth. Rosario delivered an RBI single to bring Minnesota within four. A bases-loaded HBP from Kurt Suzuki and two-run single from Danny Santana trimmed the Tigers' lead to one. Then the lineup turned over and up came Dozier – days away from his first All-Star Game – with two on and one out. Joakim Soria hung a breaking ball, and he paid for it. Any "Best Twins Player of the Decade" discussion should probably start with Dozier. He was the beating heart of those upstart, fringy playoff teams in 2015 and 2017. His 42-homer outburst in 2016 was one of the sole positives in a trainwreck campaign. Twins Daily named Dozier team MVP three straight times. That walk-off shot was perhaps the most transcendent moment in a career full of special ones. 4: Johan Santana is elected to Twins Hall of Fame (8/4/18) While it's fun reminiscing about the last 10 years, and thinking back to the days of Ben Revere catching a Vladimir Guerrero drive off of Carl Pavano, it does emphasize just how LONG ago that was. As we head into the 2020s, distance grows from a bygone era of Twins baseball filled with so many great players, moments, and memories. Johan's Hall of Fame induction in August of 2018 was a big highlight of this decade for me, because it channeled so much of the franchise's past into Target Field – if for one fleeting ceremony. Santana will forever be one of the great success stories in Twins history, and to see him celebrated alongside many of those cherished fellow fixtures from the late Metrodome run – Brad Radke, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, Eddie Guardado – was cool. Especially on a day where Jose Berrios, who is striving to inherit Santana's mantle (an ace that can ACTUALLY beat the Yankees in October), was Minnesota's starting pitcher. 3: Glen Perkins closes out the 2014 All-Star Game (7/15/14) When he retired after the 2017 season, I wrote that if a Twins Daily Hall of Fame were ever established, Perkins would be the first inductee. He was one of the team's best players throughout the site's early years of existence. He once bought a round of beers from the bullpen for TD Pub Crawl attendees. He's an amazing homegrown success story. Oh, and in his post-playing days he's now being described as "Minnesota's Ron Swanson." Sadly, Perk's career peak aligned directly with the grimmest part of the decade for the club. He was an elite closer on a terrible team, and his shoulder gave out just as the Twins began to finally emerge from the struggle. Perkins flat-out deserved to have things play out exactly as they did when the All-Star Game came to Minneapolis in 2014 and shined a national spotlight on Target Field. Trailing early, the American League came back to take a two-run lead, setting up a save opportunity for Minnesota's shutdown closer. Perkins trotted out to his mound, with Twins batterymate and fellow All-Star Kurt Suzuki on the other end, and retired the side in order to seal a win for the AL. You could have hardly scripted a better sequence for his All-Star appearance in front of the home crowd. 2: Jim Thome blasts first Target Field walk-off HR against White Sox (8/17/10) Choosing just one Thome moment (Thoment?) for inclusion on this list was a challenge. In his brief but spectacular Target Field tenure to start the decade, the Hall of Famer gave us plenty of lasting memories, which would largely come to define the ballpark's early legacy. There was the against the Royals in September of 2010. There was his the next summer, estimated at the time as the longest in the stadium's short history at 490 feet. There were his two jacks against Tampa Bay in July of 2010 to tie and then surpass Harmon Killebrew on the all-time home run list. But for me, nothing can beat the clutch tater that Thome thumped against the White Sox in August of 2010. With the Twins down by a run in the bottom of the 10th, the slugger launched a majestic two-run bomb into the plaza, notching the first walk-off home run in Target Field history. That legendary blast sealed a key division win for a team just three games up in the standings, and led to one of the best photos in Twins history. It's a tough moment for any other to top. More than eight years would pass before it finally happened. 1: Joe Mauer dons catcher's gear for one last time (9/30/18) A lot of things needed to go right, and an array of carefully crafted plans had to reach fruition, for Mauer's farewell to play out as it did. Dan Hayes meticulously detailed the story for The Athletic, and it's one of my favorite things he's written. When everything fell into place on the final day of the 2018 season, pure magic was the result. Mauer hadn't explicitly confirmed he was playing his last game as a big-leaguer, but that , and became crystal-clear in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the Twins leading 5-4, Mauer stepped onto the diamond in catcher's gear for the first time in more than five years. He tearfully saluted fans during a lengthy ovation, received one pitch from Matt Belisle, and then walked off Target Field into the proverbial sunset, leaving behind an extraordinary 15-year career. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1046519774287552512 Mauer's best days came in the Metrodome, no doubt. When Target Field was built, he was widely viewed as the best player in the AL, if not in all of baseball, a distinction he wouldn't hold onto for long. In the eyes of many, the portion of his career spent in Target Field will always be associated more with bilateral leg weakness and concussions and production that failed to live up to his mega-contract, signed a month before the park opened. But don't overlook the many moments he left his mark on Target Field. There was the in May of 2017. The ridiculous catch behind the foul net in 2010. The in 2018 – a seeing-eye single up the middle, naturally.It's only right that from 2020 forward, no Twins player will ever wear No. 7 again. Joe was one-of-a-kind, up until his last day and heartfelt final moments in the uniform. ~~~ I'd love to hear you all sound off. Did I miss any of your favorite moments? Would you change the order? Let's think back to our most cherished summer days as we experience the full brunt of Minnesota's winter.
  9. Taylor Rogers was an 11th round draft pick back in 2012. Here’s the list of players from that round that have a positive WAR at the big-league level…. Taylor Rogers and that’s it. As the old adage goes, Rogers is left-handed, and he has a pulse. This makes him valuable, but Minnesota had no idea how valuable he would be when they took him that late in the draft. Below is a brief look at the Taylor Rogers story as he has transformed himself into the most valuable reliever on one of the American League’s best teams.Minor Leagues With his college experience, it made sense for Rogers to try to stick as a starting pitcher. During his professional debut (15 appearances), he split time between Elizabethton and Beloit with a 2.27 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and a 74 to 17 strikeout to walk ratio. In 2013, he continued to be utilized as a starter. Between Low- and High-A, he posted good numbers as he made 24 starts and posted a 2.88 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP. Over the next two seasons, he would continue to start, and he made multiple trips to the Arizona Fall League. New Britain was his home for all of 2014 as he had a 3.29 ERA and a 1.29 ERA. He made only three appearances in the AFL that season, but he limited batters to four hits and one earned run. He continued to climb the ladder in 2015 as he pitched to a 3.98 ERA at Triple-A. A return trip to the AFL saw him start six games with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. It was time to see what he could do at the big-league level, but it would come with a new role as a relief pitcher. Rough Transition During his rookie season, Rogers made 57 relief appearances (61 1/3 innings) and had a 3.96 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Batters were making solid contact against him on a regular basis. His 89.7 exit velocity and 40.8% hard hit percentage were in the bottom 6% of the league. Opponents hit .260/.318/.401 (.719) against him that year as he surrendered a career high seven home runs. The 2017 campaign saw Rogers still trying to acclimate to life as a reliever. His WHIP rose to 1.31 and his strikeouts per nine dipped from 9.4 to 7.9. Obviously, this isn’t a good sign in the transition to the bullpen. However, opponent's exit velocity dropped nearly three miles per hour (89.7 to 86.9) and his hard-hit percentage finished at 35.4%. One of the biggest intentional changes was his decreased use of his fastball. He used his four seamer 3.9% of the time, which was a steep drop from 17% in 2016 (see chart below). From this point forward, Rogers made other pitching changes to transform into one of baseball’s best relievers. Among Baseball’s Best Besides his fastball usage, Rogers made two other pitching changes to become dominant. He implemented a slider in 2018 and it has become his second most used pitch during the 2019 campaign. Other than that, his curveball has almost disappeared. He used this pitch over 33% of the time last year and he has only used it 1.3% of the time this season. Download attachment: Tayor Rogers chart.jpeg Rogers has provided unbelievable value to the Twins this season. His 2.78 win probability added (WPA) leads all Twins pitchers. It’s almost a full win higher than Minnesota’s All-Star starters Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. No position player has a higher total than Rogers. He also might be on pace for one of the best relief seasons in Twins history. Since Target Field opened in 2010, Glen Perkins (2.79 WPA) has the best WPA of any Twin reliever. Jared Burton (2.41 WPA) and Glen Perkins (1.85 WPA) in 2012 have the other top totals. Doug Corbett’s 1980 season was Minnesota’s all-time best WPA mark from a reliever. His 7.58 total is likely untouchable for Rogers, but he could have enough to catch Joe Nathan’s 5.77 WPA for second place all-time. During a record-setting year, Rogers might be the AL’s most valuable reliever. He is the lone AL relief pitcher with a WPA over 2.0 and he is closing in on 3.0. He’s up 0.85 WPA over Alex Colome, the second-place relief arm. Former Twins Liam Hendricks (1.87 WPA) and Ryan Pressly (1.78 WPA) round out the top-four. It’s been quite the journey, but Rogers could end this season as the most valuable reliever in the American League. Do you think Taylor Rogers is the most valuable reliever in the AL? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  10. Minor Leagues With his college experience, it made sense for Rogers to try to stick as a starting pitcher. During his professional debut (15 appearances), he split time between Elizabethton and Beloit with a 2.27 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and a 74 to 17 strikeout to walk ratio. In 2013, he continued to be utilized as a starter. Between Low- and High-A, he posted good numbers as he made 24 starts and posted a 2.88 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP. Over the next two seasons, he would continue to start, and he made multiple trips to the Arizona Fall League. New Britain was his home for all of 2014 as he had a 3.29 ERA and a 1.29 ERA. He made only three appearances in the AFL that season, but he limited batters to four hits and one earned run. He continued to climb the ladder in 2015 as he pitched to a 3.98 ERA at Triple-A. A return trip to the AFL saw him start six games with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. It was time to see what he could do at the big-league level, but it would come with a new role as a relief pitcher. Rough Transition During his rookie season, Rogers made 57 relief appearances (61 1/3 innings) and had a 3.96 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. Batters were making solid contact against him on a regular basis. His 89.7 exit velocity and 40.8% hard hit percentage were in the bottom 6% of the league. Opponents hit .260/.318/.401 (.719) against him that year as he surrendered a career high seven home runs. The 2017 campaign saw Rogers still trying to acclimate to life as a reliever. His WHIP rose to 1.31 and his strikeouts per nine dipped from 9.4 to 7.9. Obviously, this isn’t a good sign in the transition to the bullpen. However, opponent's exit velocity dropped nearly three miles per hour (89.7 to 86.9) and his hard-hit percentage finished at 35.4%. One of the biggest intentional changes was his decreased use of his fastball. He used his four seamer 3.9% of the time, which was a steep drop from 17% in 2016 (see chart below). From this point forward, Rogers made other pitching changes to transform into one of baseball’s best relievers. Among Baseball’s Best Besides his fastball usage, Rogers made two other pitching changes to become dominant. He implemented a slider in 2018 and it has become his second most used pitch during the 2019 campaign. Other than that, his curveball has almost disappeared. He used this pitch over 33% of the time last year and he has only used it 1.3% of the time this season. Rogers has provided unbelievable value to the Twins this season. His 2.78 win probability added (WPA) leads all Twins pitchers. It’s almost a full win higher than Minnesota’s All-Star starters Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. No position player has a higher total than Rogers. He also might be on pace for one of the best relief seasons in Twins history. Since Target Field opened in 2010, Glen Perkins (2.79 WPA) has the best WPA of any Twin reliever. Jared Burton (2.41 WPA) and Glen Perkins (1.85 WPA) in 2012 have the other top totals. Doug Corbett’s 1980 season was Minnesota’s all-time best WPA mark from a reliever. His 7.58 total is likely untouchable for Rogers, but he could have enough to catch Joe Nathan’s 5.77 WPA for second place all-time. During a record-setting year, Rogers might be the AL’s most valuable reliever. He is the lone AL relief pitcher with a WPA over 2.0 and he is closing in on 3.0. He’s up 0.85 WPA over Alex Colome, the second-place relief arm. Former Twins Liam Hendricks (1.87 WPA) and Ryan Pressly (1.78 WPA) round out the top-four. It’s been quite the journey, but Rogers could end this season as the most valuable reliever in the American League. Do you think Taylor Rogers is the most valuable reliever in the AL? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  11. It’s been years since Joe Mauer didn’t have to work on July 4th. Now that he’s retired, the Twins legend found himself with the entire day off to enjoy America’s birthday. In a Twins Daily exclusive, the St. Paul native tells us how he celebrated.It was always fun to go to the park and watch the fireworks shows when I was a kid, or when Uncle Ken came over with his special fireworks from South Dakota and Mom would yell at him. Now that I’m home with the kids, I wanted to make sure they got to experience a real 4th of July celebration. Here’s what I found out: They have fireworks at Target now. Did you know about this? At first I thought it was a set-up, like when (former Twin Justin) Morneau told me I had to grow sideburns or Ron Gardenhire wouldn’t let me on the team plane for road trips. I didn’t know he was kidding me about that until 2016. Pretty funny deal, but I wish he’d told me sooner. I don’t even like sideburns, but I sure as heck didn’t want to drive to Tampa all the time. Anyway, I go to Target, and there’s this big shelf of fireworks right out in the open by the birthday cards. I look around, and I don’t see any hidden cameras or police officers. I pick up a couple roman candles and take them to the register. I even asked the clerk if it was ok for me to buy these, because Mom would get pretty steamed if I was on the news for breaking the law. The clerk looked at me kinda funny, but said sure. And I walked out of Target with a bag of fireworks. It was a pretty neat deal. I took out my flip phone and sent a text to (former Twin Glen) Perkins and asked him if he knew that you could get fireworks in Minnesota now. He said yeah, they changed the law a couple years ago, but the good s-word was still in Wisconsin. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to Hudson to buy some bottle rockets and then get held up in fireworks customs at the border. Unless Morneau was kidding about that too. I should probably check on that. Have a great weekend, Twins fans. Click here to view the article
  12. It was always fun to go to the park and watch the fireworks shows when I was a kid, or when Uncle Ken came over with his special fireworks from South Dakota and Mom would yell at him. Now that I’m home with the kids, I wanted to make sure they got to experience a real 4th of July celebration. Here’s what I found out: They have fireworks at Target now. Did you know about this? At first I thought it was a set-up, like when (former Twin Justin) Morneau told me I had to grow sideburns or Ron Gardenhire wouldn’t let me on the team plane for road trips. I didn’t know he was kidding me about that until 2016. Pretty funny deal, but I wish he’d told me sooner. I don’t even like sideburns, but I sure as heck didn’t want to drive to Tampa all the time. Anyway, I go to Target, and there’s this big shelf of fireworks right out in the open by the birthday cards. I look around, and I don’t see any hidden cameras or police officers. I pick up a couple roman candles and take them to the register. I even asked the clerk if it was ok for me to buy these, because Mom would get pretty steamed if I was on the news for breaking the law. The clerk looked at me kinda funny, but said sure. And I walked out of Target with a bag of fireworks. It was a pretty neat deal. I took out my flip phone and sent a text to (former Twin Glen) Perkins and asked him if he knew that you could get fireworks in Minnesota now. He said yeah, they changed the law a couple years ago, but the good s-word was still in Wisconsin. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to Hudson to buy some bottle rockets and then get held up in fireworks customs at the border. Unless Morneau was kidding about that too. I should probably check on that. Have a great weekend, Twins fans.
  13. February 25 Happy 57th Birthday, Dana Kiecker It’s the birthday of 1979 Fairfax High School and 1983 St. Cloud State graduate Dana Kiecker, born in Sleepy Eye in 1961. Kiecker was chosen by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 1983 Draft. He made his major league debut on April 12, 1990 at age 29, pitching four innings of relief in a Red Sox loss at Tiger Stadium. Kiecker pitched in 50 major league games for Boston between 1990 and ‘91, making 30 starts, compiling a 10-12 record with a 4.68 ERA. He made two starts at the Metrodome in 1990. He gave up a home run to Dan Gladden on his second pitch of the game on May 27. He recovered to pitch seven strong innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk before being relieved by Jeff Reardon. Twins rookie Kevin Tapani, however, was better. After putting runners on second and third to start the game, Tapani struck out the next three batters, including cleanup hitter Tom Brunansky, to get out of one heckuva jam. He went on to hold the Red Sox to just one run over seven innings. Rick Aguilera earned the six-out save. He made his second Metrodome start on July 5, opposing Scott Erickson in his third big league game. Kiecker allowed two runs on five hits and four walks over 5.2 innings, taking a no-decision in a 7-4 Red Sox loss. He gave up a three-run home run to fellow southwest Minnesotan Terry Steinbach in the top of the first on September 3, 1990. That blow knocked Kiecker out of the game, having given up five runs to Oakland while only recording two outs. Jim Eisenreich and Kiecker are the only pair of St. Cloud State alumni to play against each other in the major leagues. Eisenreich went 4-for-8 with a walk and two doubles versus Kiecker between 1990 and 1991. They were teammates at St. Cloud in 1980, along with Bob Hegman, who played half an inning in the field for the Kansas City Royals on August 8, 1985. "Dana Kiecker Street" is home to the Fairfax townball field. I've never been there, but it is allegedly a particularly beautiful ballpark. You can hear Kiecker on St. Paul Saints broadcasts this summer. February 26, 1933 Birthdate of Johnny Blanchard It’s the birthdate of probably the most famous backup catcher in baseball history, Johnny Blanchard, born 85 years ago in Minneapolis. Blanchard attended Minneapolis’s De LaSalle and Central High Schools, playing football, basketball, and baseball. He got a thimble of coffee with the Yankees in 1955, playing in the second game of a doubleheader on the final day of the season. He made it back to the majors in 1959, where he would remain for the next seven seasons, making a nice little career of backing up Yogi Berra and Elston Howard. He would appear in five World Series as a Yankee. The highlight of his career came in the 1961 World Series when he hit .400 with two home runs as the Yankees defeated the Cincinnati Reds in five games. Blanchard would earn a second ring in 1962. He tied a major league record by homering in four consecutive at-bats in 1961. Of course in true “Suber Sub” fashion, those four consecutive at-bats came over a six-day span. Blanchard hit a game-winning two-out pinch-hit grand slam at Fenway Park on July 21, 1961. He hit another pinch-hit homer the next day, and then sat out the next three games. He made a rare start on July 26 vs. the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium, homering in his first two at-bats and flying out to the wall in his third. Blanchard played 18 games at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington between 1961 and '65, going 13-for-51 (.255) with seven walks, and three home runs. He hit .222 with seven home runs in 38 games against the Twins overall. Blanchard was a featured guest at Halsey Hall SABR meetings on October 24, 1992 and October 18, 2008. He died of a heart attack at North Memorial in Robbinsdale on March 25, 2009. He was 76 years old. 2018 will be John's son Paul Blanchard's 22nd season as head baseball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. He has been known to make guest lecturer appearances on campus, sometimes even passing around his father's World Series ring. George Rekela wrote about Johnny Blanchard for the book Minnesotans in Baseball (click here). February 26 Happy 60th Birthday, Bob Hegman It’s the birthday of 1976 Sauk Rapids-Rice graduate, St. Cloud State all-time great, former Royals second baseman, and current Twins scout Bob Hegman, born in Springfield, MN in 1958. Hegman improved steadily at the plate during his four years at St. Cloud State, hitting .203 in 1977, .288 in 1978, .372 in 1979, and .381 in 1980. He was 24-for-24 in stolen base attempts over his final three seasons at St. Cloud. He was also a four-year starting point guard on the Huskies basketball team. Hegman was selected by the Royals in the 15th round of the 1980 draft, and reported to their Gulf Coast League team in Florida. He returned to St. Cloud in the offseason and graduated with a degree in Business Management in 1981. Hegman got into his only major league game on August 8, 1985 at age 27, entering as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth of 10-3 win over Chicago. He did not get the ball hit to him, and did not get an at-bat. Sound familiar? Longtime Chisolm doctor "Moonlight" Graham's major league career also consisted of half an inning in the field on June 29, 1905. I asked Mr. Hegman about the circumstances of his brief stint in the majors. He (specifically his glove) was called up when 1978 first-round draft pick Buddy Biancalana was hampered by an injury, and sent back to Omaha the moment Biancalana was healthy. The Royals went on to win the 1985 World Series. No, Hegman did not receive a ring. In total, Hegman played seven seasons of professional baseball. He joined the Royals front office as an assistant to the Scouting and Player Development Directors in September 1986. In 1992 he was named Director of Minor League Operations, a position he held for ten years. He became an Advance Scout for the Twins in 2003 before moving into his current position of Professional Scout (evaluating pro players) in 2008. Hegman has made his home in the Kansas City area since 1986. 1956 National League All-Star Rip Repulski also attended Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. February 27 Happy 34th Birthday, Denard Span It's the birthday of former Twins center fielder Denard Span, born in Tampa, FL in 1984. Even though it doesn't say so on the Twins' website (see for yourself), Span tied Ken Landreaux's team record and the major league record with three triples at Target Field on June 29, 2010. He went 4-for-4 with a walk, five RBI, and two runs scored in an 11-4 win over Detroit. Jim Thome hit his 572nd home run in the game. February 28, 1887 Birthdate of Joe Fautsch It's the birthdate of Joe Fautsch, born 131 years ago in Minneapolis. He got into one major league game with the Chicago White Sox on April 24, 1916 at age 29, going 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter. According to Baseball Reference, he played for the Red Wing Manufacturers in 1910, and the Winona Pirates in 1913 and '14. He passed away in New Hope on March 16, 1971 at age 84, and is buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Minneapolis. If you have any knowledge about Joe Fautsch to share, please leave a comment, or email Matt@TwinsAlmanac.com. February 28, 1909 Birthdate of Lefty Bertrand It's the birthdate of Lefty Bertrand, born 109 years ago in Cobden, MN. Bertrand attended St. Mary's High School in Sleepy Eye. Baseball Reference lists him as having attended St. Mary's University of Minnesota in Winona, but I believe that is a mistake. Bertrand got into one major league game with the Phillies on April 15, 1936 at age 27, pitching the final two innings of a 12-4 loss to the Boston Bees. He gave up two runs on three hits (including a home run), and two walks while striking out one. That's still a better major league record that fellow St. Mary's alumnus Fred Bruckbauer, who gave up three runs without recording an out in his only outing with the Twins on April 25, 1961. If you're looking for a Twins connection in Bertrand's only big league outing, he gave up a single to Sam Mele's uncle Tony Cuccinello. Lefty Bertrand broke into pro ball with the Class D Northern League Brainerd Muskies in 1933. That team moved to Brandon, Manitoba on June 27 and became the Grays. In 1934 he was back with the reformed Brainerd-Little Falls Muskies. Winona native Julie Wera, who played some third base for the '27 Yankees, wrapped up his pro career with the Northern League Crookston Pirates in 1937. As with Joe Fautsch (or anyone/thing else on the Almanac, for that matter), if you have knowledge to share, please get in touch. March 2, 1916 Birthdate of Mickey Rocco It's the birthdate of St. Paul Central alumnus and former Cleveland first baseman Mickey Rocco, born 102 years ago in St. Paul. In addition to baseball, Rocco also played basketball, and was a violinist in the St. Paul Central school orchestra according to biographer Gregg Omoth. After spending time in the Pirates, Braves, White Sox, Dodgers, and Tigers organizations, Rocco made his major league debut with Cleveland at Philadelphia's Shibe Park on June 5, 1943 at age 27. He went 2-for-4 with a triple, double, RBI, and run scored in a 6-5 loss to the Athletics. He started 107 of Cleveland's remaining 114 games that season (they played 153 total). Rocco led the American League and tied for the major league lead with 653 at-bats in 1944. As a townball player, myself, I think this is a really cool stat. I'm always trying to find ways to get some swings in, including supervising 6 AM high school practices so that maybe I'll get a few pitches at the end. How cool would it be to be able to say you got more at-bats than anybody else in the American League? In total, Rocco played 440 games over four seasons with Cleveland, with his final major league game coming on June 24, 1946 at age 30. He hit .258 with 30 home runs. He stuck it out in the minors through 1952. He remained active in baseball, coaching various Twin Cities teams throughout the '50s and '60s. According to biographer Gregg Omoth "a Rosetown team he coached won the Minnesota Legion championship in 1965." Mickey Rocco passed away on June 1, 1997 at age 81. He was laid to rest at Roselawn Cemetary in Roseville. For a much more thorough picture of Rocco, read Gregg Omoth's biography, originally published in the SABR book Who's on First: Replacement Players in World War II (click here). March 2 Happy 67th Birthday, Mike Johnson It’s the birthday of 1969 Faribault High School graduate and former San Diego Padres pitcher Mike Johnson, born in Slayton, MN in 1951. Johnson was signed by Cincinnati Reds scout Bill Clark out of his annual tryout camp at Bell Field in Faribault. Johnson made his major league debut versus Atlanta on July 25, 1974 at age 23, entering with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth of a scoreless game. He induced an inning-ending ground ball from Davey Johnson. He walked Darrell Evans leading off the bottom of the tenth, and Dusty Baker bunted Evans up to second. The Padres then intentionally walked Mike Lum to set up a potential inning-ending double play. It was not to be, however, as Rowland Office came through with a walk-off single. After pitching a 1-2-3 top of the tenth, Tom House—throwing guru to the stars, including Nolan Ryan and Tom Brady—earned the win for Atlanta. In total, Johnson pitched 21.1 innings over 18 relief appearances, giving up 13 runs (11 earned) on 29 hits and 15 walks while striking out 15. He went 0-2 with a 2.063 WHIP and 4.64 ERA. It was his final season of professional baseball. He returned to Faribault where he pitched for the Lakers townball team. March 2 Happy 56th Birthday, Terry Steinbach It’s the birthday of 1980 New Ulm High School graduate, Golden Gopher all-time great, and three-time American League All-Star Terry Steinbach, born in New Ulm in 1962. Here’s a fun story: the Gophers moved hotshot Edina third baseman Greg Olson to catcher to make room for up-and-coming New Ulm third baseman Terry Steinbach. Steinbach was later converted to catcher in the Oakland A’s organization to make room for third baseman Mark McGwire. McGwire, of course, ultimately wound up at first base while Olson and Steinbach each developed into All-Star major league catchers. Steinbach made his major league debut in Cleveland on September 12, 1986 at age 24. With Oakland trailing 8-2, Steinbach entered as a defensive replacement for Mickey Tettleton in the bottom of the sixth. He led off the top of the seventh with a home run off Greg Swindell in his first big league at-bat. Steinbach and Swindell would be teammates with the Twins in 1997 and '98. 1976 Park Center grad Tim Laudner also homered in his first major league game on August 28, 1981. After being maligned by the press as an unworthy starter in 1988, Steinbach homered in his first All-Star at-bat. He later hit a sacrifice fly to lead the American League to a 2–1 victory and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. The AL only carried two catchers in the game, the other being Tim Laudner. Steinbach was also an All-Star in 1989 and 1993. Steinbach hit an Opening Day grand slam when I was in fourth grade (1994). I know this because Mel Allen told me so on This Week in Baseball. I commemorated the event with a crayon drawing that stayed on the fridge for a few months. Steinbach played for the Twins his final three season, from 1997 to 1999. He caught Eric Milton's no-hitter at the Metrodome on September 11, 1999. He had previously caught Dave Stewart's no-hitter while playing for Oakland in Toronto on June 29, 1990. Altogether Steinbach played 14 major league seasons, hitting .271 with 1,453 hits and 162 home runs. Steinbach coached the Wayzata High School baseball team from 2008 to 2012. The Twins hired him as bench coach for the 2013 season, succeeding Steve Liddle. He was not retained when Paul Molitor took over as manager in 2015. March 2 Happy 35th Birthday, Glen Perkins It’s the birthday of 2001 Stillwater Area High School graduate, Golden Gophers all-time great, and former Twins closer Glen Perkins, born in St. Paul in 1983. After redshirting in 2002, Perkins played for the Gophers in 2003 and 2004, going 19-5 with a 2.87 ERA, 13 complete games, two shutouts and 230 strikeouts in 216.1 innings. Perkins set a new Gophers single-season strikeout record in 2003 with 117 in 105.1 innings. He gave his own record a run for it’s money in 2004 with 113 strikeouts in 111.1 innings. Those innings pitched, incidentally, were the second and fifth most in school history. Perkins was named the 2004 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. The Twins drafted Perkins in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2004 draft. He made his major league debut in September 2006 at age 23, the same season as fellow Gopher Jack Hannahan. He made the American League All-Star team in 2013, ‘14 and ‘15, saving 30+ games each of those three seasons. Hampered by a labrum injury, Perkins only made 10 appearances between 2016 and 2017. He retired in January 2018. In total, he pitched in 409 major league games (44 starts) over parts of 12 seasons. His 120 saves rank third in Twins history behind Joe Nathan and Rick Aguilera, and four saves ahead of Eddie Guardado. March 3, 1895 Birthdate of Joe Jaeger It's the birthdate of former Cubs pitcher Joe Jaeger, born 123 years ago in St. Cloud. Jaeger made two relief appearances with the Cubs in September 1920 at age 25, giving up six runs (four earned) on six hits and four walks. Jaeger passed away on December 13, 1963 in Hampton, IA. He was 68 years old. Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter and Facebook.
  14. New show! Glen Perkins' retirement, Yu Darvish, more potential MLB rules changes, the MLB HoF, and more! https://www.spreaker.com/user/the4dpodcastnetwork/twins-and-losses-supershow-episode-54-sl
  15. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/180128_final.mp3
  16. Aaron and John talk about the latest Yu Darvish rumors, Glen Perkins' retirement, Joe Nathan's appearance at the Winter Meltdown, returning to KFAN for another season, exploding tires and ruined lunches, Super Bowl festivities, the Brewers' big push, and $36 guacamole. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Sponsored by Bombfell and Simply Contacts. Click here to view the article
  17. Let’s take a quick look back at all the articles from the front page in the order they were published. This edition of Twins Weekly covers Friday, Jan. 19 to Thursday, Jan. 25. Diamond Awards A Big Success | John Bonnes Players’ Union Rejects Pace Of Play Proposals | Cody Christie Johan Santana Elected To Twins Hall of Fame | Seth Stohs The Twins Almanac for January 21–27 | Matt Johnson Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 352: Winter Meltdown 2018 | John Bonnes Can Addison Reed Become Minnesota's Bullpen Ace? | Nick Nelson Twins On Deck With Seth Podcast (Episode 3) | Seth Stohs Top Ten Twins Players Under 25 (6-10) | Cody Christie Overheard at TwinsFest: Granite Wants to Kick Yankee @!# | Tom Froemming Fernando Romero Is Healthy, Ready To Compete | Seth Stohs Glen Perkins: Tribute To A Twins Daily Hall Of Famer | Nick Nelson Would You Rather: Darvish or a Cobb/Lynn Combo? | Tom Froemming 5 Challenges The Twins Should Be Prepared To Face In 2018 | Nick Nelson Report: Darvish Decision Expected This Week, Twins In Consideration | Cody Christie Video: Slowing Things Down To See Jason Castro’s Silent Skill | Tom Froemming Get To Know Rule 5 Pick Tyler Kinley | Seth Stohs The Minnesota Twins Said No To Jim Thome | Parker Hageman Dollars Make Sense for 2018 Twins | Ted Schwerzler Twins Daily Blogs Below are some additional items of note from the blog area. I've pulled excerpts from each piece in an attempt to hook you in. The Sport of Immigrants By mikelink45 From the start the Minnesota Twins had an international connection. In the 1960’s before the recent surge in Foreign born players, the Twins had a Cuban connection that brought us Camilo Pascual, Tony Oliva, Zoilo Versalles, Sandy Valdespino, and Luis Tiant. And from Venezuela – Cesar Tovar who took us to the 1965 World Series. In their first years, when I was an usher, I always tried to get near the first base bag as the game moved on and the seats were full so I could watch my favorite player – Vic Power from Puerto Rico. I loved Pedro Ramos who complimented Pascual on the mound and does anyone remember Elmer Valo from Slovakia? Or Reno Bertoia from Italy who lived in Canada and is in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame? There were 9 foreign born players on our first Minnesota Twins team.Twins Analytics Infrastructure By jharaldson This Twins have had a bit of a tortured history with analytics. In 2010 Rob Antony did an interview with TwinsDaily’s own Parker Hageman and revealed some interesting facts about the Twins and Sabermetrics. Antony stated this about their analytics department, “we're probably one of the last, if not the last, team to address it with a person dedicated solely to that.”. He went on further to fail to understand some fairly basic concepts about Sabermetrics. He thought FIP was “first strike in inning pitched” and was unable to guess about BABIP. He then revealed they had just hired their analytics guy and stated he would be “Gathering information and creating databases. This will be his first year. The guy that we brought in will start creating systems to build a foundation of our own that we can look at.” This is what I primarily want to get into as I have a background in IT.WAR on Twins Hall of Fame By sethmoko The announcement of Johan Santana's well-deserved selection to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame as well as the round-and-round Twitter and blog conversation about MLB Hall of Fame selections got me thinking: Who is in the Twins Hall of Fame that might surprise and who are other deserving candidates.Twins Showing Interest in Wade Miley By Andrew Thares Wade Miley isn’t the sexiest name out there on the starting pitcher market, but he could be a value grab for the Twins as they look to add depth to their rotation. One thing the Twins will be able to count on in Miley is his durability, as he has averaged 186 innings per season over the last six years. Miley has a respectable 4.38 ERA, and 3.95 xFIP, over his career, though he has been suspect of late with a 5.48 ERA over the past two seasons. This will make Miley a cheap signing, that the Twins could take a flyer on.Bullish - The Upside of the 2018 Bullpen By Jamie Cameron Looking at the most effective bullpens of 2017, an even more integral stat is K/9. This makes a ton of sense, not much can go wrong if you’re striking hitters out on a consistent basis. In 2017, there were 9 teams with a bullpen K/9 of at least 9.5. Between them, these clubs averaged a WAR of 6.5 for their bullpen. The Twins bullpen WAR in 2017 was 2.2, not a disaster, good for 22nd in MLB. By K/9, the Twins ranked 29th, with just 7.66 strikeouts per nine innings. Hardly surprising, when you are cycling through nearly 30 relievers over the course of the season. So how do the Twins new additions stack up in generating more strikeouts?What does one of the newest predictive measurements tell about the Twins' bats in 2018? By Thrylos As indicated only Joe Mauer, and in a lesser degree, Jason Castro are projected to improve, as far as the 2018 startling 9 of the Twins go. Pretty much everyone else is projected to decline. If one looks at several projections about what the 2018 will do, which are based on xwOBA, expect them to show an overall decline in wins.Video of the Week New Hall of Famer Jim Thome was only with the Twins for two seasons, but he sure gave us some tall tales during his time here. eBay Item of the Week It’s too bad Glen Perkins’ prime coincided with a down period for the Twins, but Perk closing out the All-Star Game at Target Field was one of the highlights of that period. Check out this sweet program from that game with the hometown boy on the cover: This isn’t on eBay, but if you’re looking to score some other sweet Twins memorabilia and support a good cause, check out the listings at the Darrell and Merry’s Cancer Fund charity auction. There are 14 items up for grabs from Twins legends like Tony Oliva to prospects like Royce Lewis and everybody in between. Additional Links Baseball: Twins' Curtiss saves the day in relief By the Duluth News Tribune John Curtiss took the call on Monday in Dallas asking if he could fill in for fellow Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios on the team's annual Winter Caravan after Berrios returned home to Puerto Rico to attend to a family matter. Curtiss sprang into action, but his flight to Minneapolis on Monday was delayed due to the blizzard that hit the Twin Cities. He even offered to fly to Omaha, Neb., and then drive the rest of the way, but he instead ended up flying out Tuesday morning, where he joined the Winter Caravan later that day.Target Field renovations for 2018 unveiled By Maija Varda of Twinkie Town The biggest change happening is that the Metropolitan Club — the big glass area in right field reserved exclusively for season ticket holders — will be no more. Instead, it will be replaced by a new club called Bat & Barrel, and will be open to all ticket holders. It’ll have bar, table, and lounge seating, a bunch of TVs, alcohol, new food, and all the other things you’d expect the Twins to put in there. More unexpectedly, the club will also be the home for various team awards, including both World Series Championship trophies! Woo! Unfortunately, the team didn’t say whether these would be the real World Series trophies, or replicas like the ones they already display in the Champions Club behind home plate (the real trophies are kept in the team offices).Torres, Tatis Jr. lead Top 10 SS Prospects list (includes Royce Lewis and Nick Gordon) By Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com Keep an eye on - Wander Javier, Twins By the end of the year, it's possible that Javier will be getting more of the attention among Twins shortstops. Signed for $4 million in 2015, he had a strong United States debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2017 and could really break out with a move to the Midwest League this season.Minnesota Twins Spring Training Countdown: 22, Brad Radke By Benjamin Chase of Puckett’s Pond The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th. Some pitchers put up incredible ERA numbers, some pitchers put up incredible strikeout numbers, and some pitchers simply put up consistent numbers year-after-year to create their value over time. One of the best examples of that model is Twins Hall of Fame starter Brad Radke, who wore #22.Baseball is Good By Cory Engelhardt I had my 32nd episode last night. I was my own guest. It was really interesting/unusual doing a show all on my own, and I felt at times like I was rambling on a bit. Outside of that, I enjoyed doing the show and asking myself some of the questions that I have asked other people in previous podcast. I touched on how I grew to love the sport, why I enjoy still talking about baseball, what I see as the future of Baseball is Good, and lastly I ended the show going over some memories I had from TwinsFest this past weekend. Please give it a listen!Calling All Bloggers!!! Reminder: Anyone can start a blog at Twins Daily. If you're interested in being a regular writer for the site, the blog section is how you get your foot in the door. The only reason you're reading my words right now is because I started my own blog at Twins Daily. Calling All Readers!!! I don’t want to leave you out, either. If there's anything you'd love to read about next week, please let us know in the comments. That does it for this edition of Twins Weekly, have a great weekend everyone.
  18. EDITOR'S NOTE: We're re-pinning this article from October today due to the news that Glen Perkins has officially retired from baseball. On the final Sunday of the 2017 regular season, Minnesota Twins fans had the privilege of watching 44-year-old Bartolo Colon put, perhaps, the finishing touch on a lengthy major-league career that will go down as unforgettable. One night earlier, another pitcher likely closed the book on a story that's been far more impactful and personal to us, playing out from start to finish in our own backyards. Glen Perkins won't loom as large as Colon in the game's history, but he will deservedly go down as a Minnesota baseball legend, and if we were to establish a Twins Daily Hall of Fame, he'd certainly be a first-ballot inductee.Why do I say Perk is an easy choice for this hypothetical TD Hall of Fame? The biggest reason is obvious enough: his play. Our site launched in 2012, and during the first several years of its existence, he was easily one of the team's brightest stars. Perkins first took over the closer role midway through that campaign, relieving us all of Matt Capps. From that point through the end of the 2015 season, the left-hander was one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball, a three-time All Star and a dominant force. His best years coincided directly with the rise of our community. They also coincided directly with one of the darkest chapters in this franchise's modern history, which is a true shame. I do wonder how much differently Perkins might be viewed if more than a handful of his 120 career saves were actually meaningful. But it's not just the performance Perkins delivered at his peak that makes him near-and-dear to this site. He is in so many ways a reflection of everything Twins Daily stands for: a celebration of Minnesota baseball; an embracing of deeper and more thoughtful analysis; a sometimes nerdy level of passion for the game. This piece is my attempt to recognize Perkins for all of these things. Local Product He's the definition of a homegrown talent. Perkins was born in Stillwater, just inside the Minnesota border, in 1983. He grew up and played prep ball there, then attended the University of Minnesota, where he starred for the Gophers. Taken by his hometown MLB team with the 22nd overall pick in 2004, Perkins became the eighth first-round pick out of the U of M, joining – among others – Paul Molitor. How fitting that Molitor would eventually be the manager to send Perk out for his emotional curtain call in the season's second-to-last game. Obviously our central focus here at Twins Daily is covering the Twins (daily) but we also make efforts to extend our lens to Minnesota hardball at large. Readers could find frequent coverage of the Gophers and St. Paul Saints this summer, and around draft time we always shine a light on the locals. Perkins covers the breadth of our scope. When he donned those road jerseys with the "MINNESOTA" lettering across the front, it had quite a bit more meaning for Perkins than most. The Reinvention After joining the pro ranks, Perkins rose quickly through the minors, making his first big-league appearance two years after being drafted. But in time it became apparent that he wasn't cut out as an MLB starter. After working up to 150 innings in 2008, his arm didn't respond well. The following year he battled injuries while his fastball dipped below 90 and his K/9 sank to an untenable nadir. Late in the season, relations between he and the team reached a low point when Perkins filed a grievance against the Twins for optioning him to the minors instead of sending him on a rehab assignment off a DL stint, preventing him qualifying for Super 2 status (and thus, an arbitration raise). It was a logical decision for the Twins, but one could understand the lefty's frustration. His budding career momentum had grinded to a halt before yielding any significant money. The next year he pitched terribly in Triple-A but came back up to the majors in August anyway, in a probable last shot with the organization. Ron Gardenhire and the Twins saw something they liked as Perkins worked as a reliever in September, posting a 3.09 ERA and averaging a strikeout per inning. They brought him to New York for the playoffs. In spring of 2011, he was reportedly close to not making the team before a late-March meeting with Gardenhire in which he told the skipper, “I want to pitch for the Twins. It’s where I grew up. Just give me a chance.” They did, and boy was it a good call. Perkins blossomed as a setup man that year, pumping heat in the mid-90s, then took over the closer role in 2012. He would make three straight All Star teams in that capacity, and four years later he'd overtake Eddie Guardado for third on the franchise leaderboard in saves. It's the kind of turnaround that should inspire every struggling young player in the game. A Studious Mind As you may or may not be aware, Perkins wrote the foreword for this year's edition of the Baseball Prospectus Annual. In it, he recounts the story of discovering BP in 2009, and thusly becoming aware of sabermetrics and modernized analysis. Suddenly, he was noticing the negative harbingers in a 12-win 2008 season – a sub par K-rate, a bloated fly ball ratio, a FIP north of 5.00. A change in mindset, and reevaluating the factors of his game really worth focusing on, may have played a big role in driving his turnaround. By the time he was blooming as an elite relief pitcher in 2013, Perkins was well versed in advanced stats. That May, he participated in a Q&A with David Laurila of FanGraphs where he drilled down into metrics like K/9, Z-Swing%, and HR/FB. His assertion in that interview that FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is the most important pitching statistic probably wasn't shared by any of his peers in the majors, but was music to the ears of bloggers and analytical fans. This commonality – a fervent curiosity about baseball, extending beyond its traditions and platitudes – helped many of us fans feel an inherent bond with the hurler, and he strengthened it with an engaging and accessible personality. Perk has always been pretty interactive on Twitter. He and his wife Alisha host an annual 5K supporting mental health. He notoriously bought a round of beers from the bullpen for Twins Daily readers at our first Touch Em All Pub Crawl. He has even gone to bat for the value of baseball writing not driven by access: Perkins has done much to endear himself to Twins fans – and the hardcore sorts that patronize this site especially – so it's safe to say he wasn't the only one dealing with dust in his eyes as he sat in the dugout after that final appearance of the year. One of Us Here in Minnesota, the above term is thrown around often in sarcastic tones, teasing the absurd amount of pride we tend to express over athletes with local ties. But Perkins fulfills that descriptor in every sense. Thanks, Perk, for being One of Us and representing Us so well. Click here to view the article
  19. Why do I say Perk is an easy choice for this hypothetical TD Hall of Fame? The biggest reason is obvious enough: his play. Our site launched in 2012, and during the first several years of its existence, he was easily one of the team's brightest stars. Perkins first took over the closer role midway through that campaign, relieving us all of Matt Capps. From that point through the end of the 2015 season, the left-hander was one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball, a three-time All Star and a dominant force. His best years coincided directly with the rise of our community. They also coincided directly with one of the darkest chapters in this franchise's modern history, which is a true shame. I do wonder how much differently Perkins might be viewed if more than a handful of his 120 career saves were actually meaningful. But it's not just the performance Perkins delivered at his peak that makes him near-and-dear to this site. He is in so many ways a reflection of everything Twins Daily stands for: a celebration of Minnesota baseball; an embracing of deeper and more thoughtful analysis; a sometimes nerdy level of passion for the game. This piece is my attempt to recognize Perkins for all of these things. Local Product He's the definition of a homegrown talent. Perkins was born in Stillwater, just inside the Minnesota border, in 1983. He grew up and played prep ball there, then attended the University of Minnesota, where he starred for the Gophers. Taken by his hometown MLB team with the 22nd overall pick in 2004, Perkins became the eighth first-round pick out of the U of M, joining – among others – Paul Molitor. How fitting that Molitor would eventually be the manager to send Perk out for his emotional curtain call in the season's second-to-last game. Obviously our central focus here at Twins Daily is covering the Twins (daily) but we also make efforts to extend our lens to Minnesota hardball at large. Readers could find frequent coverage of the Gophers and St. Paul Saints this summer, and around draft time we always shine a light on the locals. Perkins covers the breadth of our scope. When he donned those road jerseys with the "MINNESOTA" lettering across the front, it had quite a bit more meaning for Perkins than most. The Reinvention After joining the pro ranks, Perkins rose quickly through the minors, making his first big-league appearance two years after being drafted. But in time it became apparent that he wasn't cut out as an MLB starter. After working up to 150 innings in 2008, his arm didn't respond well. The following year he battled injuries while his fastball dipped below 90 and his K/9 sank to an untenable nadir. Late in the season, relations between he and the team reached a low point when Perkins filed a grievance against the Twins for optioning him to the minors instead of sending him on a rehab assignment off a DL stint, preventing him qualifying for Super 2 status (and thus, an arbitration raise). It was a logical decision for the Twins, but one could understand the lefty's frustration. His budding career momentum had grinded to a halt before yielding any significant money. The next year he pitched terribly in Triple-A but came back up to the majors in August anyway, in a probable last shot with the organization. Ron Gardenhire and the Twins saw something they liked as Perkins worked as a reliever in September, posting a 3.09 ERA and averaging a strikeout per inning. They brought him to New York for the playoffs. In spring of 2011, he was reportedly close to not making the team before a late-March meeting with Gardenhire in which he told the skipper, “I want to pitch for the Twins. It’s where I grew up. Just give me a chance.” They did, and boy was it a good call. Perkins blossomed as a setup man that year, pumping heat in the mid-90s, then took over the closer role in 2012. He would make three straight All Star teams in that capacity, and four years later he'd overtake Eddie Guardado for third on the franchise leaderboard in saves. It's the kind of turnaround that should inspire every struggling young player in the game. A Studious Mind As you may or may not be aware, Perkins wrote the foreword for this year's edition of the Baseball Prospectus Annual. In it, he recounts the story of discovering BP in 2009, and thusly becoming aware of sabermetrics and modernized analysis. Suddenly, he was noticing the negative harbingers in a 12-win 2008 season – a sub par K-rate, a bloated fly ball ratio, a FIP north of 5.00. A change in mindset, and reevaluating the factors of his game really worth focusing on, may have played a big role in driving his turnaround. By the time he was blooming as an elite relief pitcher in 2013, Perkins was well versed in advanced stats. That May, he participated in a Q&A with David Laurila of FanGraphs where he drilled down into metrics like K/9, Z-Swing%, and HR/FB. His assertion in that interview that FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is the most important pitching statistic probably wasn't shared by any of his peers in the majors, but was music to the ears of bloggers and analytical fans. This commonality – a fervent curiosity about baseball, extending beyond its traditions and platitudes – helped many of us fans feel an inherent bond with the hurler, and he strengthened it with an engaging and accessible personality. Perk has always been pretty interactive on Twitter. He and his wife Alisha host an annual 5K supporting mental health. He notoriously bought a round of beers from the bullpen for Twins Daily readers at our first Touch Em All Pub Crawl. He has even gone to bat for the value of baseball writing not driven by access: https://twitter.com/glenperkins/status/904755261725925379 Perkins has done much to endear himself to Twins fans – and the hardcore sorts that patronize this site especially – so it's safe to say he wasn't the only one dealing with dust in his eyes as he sat in the dugout after that final appearance of the year. One of Us Here in Minnesota, the above term is thrown around often in sarcastic tones, teasing the absurd amount of pride we tend to express over athletes with local ties. But Perkins fulfills that descriptor in every sense. Thanks, Perk, for being One of Us and representing Us so well.
  20. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Episode_341.mp3
  21. Andrew Romine played all nine positions for the Tigers, but the Twins still couldn’t beat them, not that it matters. What does matter is tonight marked the return of Miguel Sano to the lineup. It was also an emotional evening for Glen Perkins, who likely made his final appearance for the Twins.Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs) Download attachment: Snapshot930.png Any time a guy plays all nine positions it’s obviously a bit of a stunt. Detroit clearly has nothing to play for at this point, and tonight’s accomplishment by Romine is among the highlights of their season. This was all for fun, and it’s hard to hold anything against the Tigers, but I would assume the Twins weren’t thrilled with how he was used on the mound. The only batter Romine pitched to was Sano. That was unfortunate timing.I don’t think the Twins needed to see what Sano could do against 85 mph batting practice. Sano hit a 113.6 mph single in his first at bat of the night, but followed that up with strikeouts in his next two plate appearances. Against Romine, he grounded out to third base. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: bullpenupdate.png Looking Ahead Sun: Twins (Bartolo Colon) vs. Detroit (Anibal Sanchez), 2:10 pm CT Mon: OFF Tue: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Yankees (Luis Severino), 6:00 pm CT Looking Back MIN 6, DET 3: Dozier, Escobar Lead Offense To Victory CLE 5, MIN 2: Ervin Caps Banner Year With 5 Shutout Innings CLE 4, MIN 2: Twins Lose, Clinch Postseason Berth Anyway Click here to view the article
  22. Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs) Any time a guy plays all nine positions it’s obviously a bit of a stunt. Detroit clearly has nothing to play for at this point, and tonight’s accomplishment by Romine is among the highlights of their season. This was all for fun, and it’s hard to hold anything against the Tigers, but I would assume the Twins weren’t thrilled with how he was used on the mound. The only batter Romine pitched to was Sano. That was unfortunate timing.I don’t think the Twins needed to see what Sano could do against 85 mph batting practice. Sano hit a 113.6 mph single in his first at bat of the night, but followed that up with strikeouts in his next two plate appearances. Against Romine, he grounded out to third base. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/914273015822553088 Aaron Slegers went 4.1 innings and gave up three runs, but one of them was unearned and another was an inherited runner allowed in by Dillon Gee. Slegers gave up three hits and a walk. He also had three strikeouts. Gee gave up a pair of hits over his 0.2 innings. One of those outs was courtesy of a great throw by Eddie Rosario to nap old friend Alex Presley at home. Michael Tonkin pitched 2.0 no-hit innings, John Curtiss followed with 1.2 no-hit innings of his own before Perkins came in to record the final out of the ninth. Perkins will surely have his option declined for next season, leaving his future extremely uncertain. But you don’t have to tell that to Glen, it was clear he knew the gravity of tonight’s appearance. He asked for the ball back as he and his teammates left the field and got emotional in the dugout and during postgame interviews (see below). Obviously the comeback didn’t go as well as Perkins would have hoped, but if this is the end for his playing career, it’s a pretty good way to go out. It would’ve been a shame if he’d never returned from that injury that costed him most of two seasons. Joe Mauer drew three walks and Zack Granite reached base twice, drawing a walk and hitting an RBI single. Max Kepler drew a bases-loaded walk to score the Twins first run. Postgame With Perkins https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/914319330434629632 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Looking Ahead Sun: Twins (Bartolo Colon) vs. Detroit (Anibal Sanchez), 2:10 pm CT Mon: OFF Tue: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Yankees (Luis Severino), 6:00 pm CT Looking Back MIN 6, DET 3: Dozier, Escobar Lead Offense To Victory CLE 5, MIN 2: Ervin Caps Banner Year With 5 Shutout Innings CLE 4, MIN 2: Twins Lose, Clinch Postseason Berth Anyway
  23. You win some, you lose some and sometimes you get your butt kicked. Monday night’s game would fall into the third category, though the score was 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Not a good look tonight, but regardless, the Twins still hold the second American League Wild Card spot.Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs) Download attachment: Snapshot94.png The offense could muster only five hits and Jose Berrios gave up five runs over 5.0 innings. To be fair, the score was just 3-1 when Berrios was removed from the game. Things really fell apart once the bullpen took over. It took five different relievers to get through the final three innings. Yep, must be September. It’s really funny how pitching stats work out sometimes. In the box score, Buddy Boshers gave up zero earned runs over 0.1 innings, but he came in and gave up a massive two-run single that increased Tampa’s lead to 6-1 before recording the final out of that inning. One big difference between earlier in the year and now is that when the Twins are losing big, early in the season that typically meant we’d get to see Chris Gimenez pitch. Now, it means we get to see Glen Perkins pitch. He walked the first two batters he faced before getting a groundout and maxed out at 90.9 mph tonight. Both those runners eventually came around to score after Perkins had been lifted for Tyler Duffey. There was a bit of a scary moment in this one, as Mitch Garver was involved in a collision at home plate with Steve Souza Jr., who is 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. That’s not supposed to happen anymore right? Yes, but sometimes two guys are just in the same place at the same time. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen94.png Looking Ahead Tue: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Tampa Bay (Jake Odorizzi), 6:10 pm CT Wed: Twins (Aaron Slegers) at Tampa Bay(Blake Snell), 12:10 pm CT Thu: Twins (Kyle Gibson) at Kansas City (Sam Gaviglio), 7:15 pm CT Looking Back KC 5, MIN 4: What Even Is A Swing, Anyway? MIN 17, KC 0: What Negative Run Differential? KC 7, MIN 6: Oh, So Close Click here to view the article
  24. Snapshot (chart via Fangraphs) The offense could muster only five hits and Jose Berrios gave up five runs over 5.0 innings. To be fair, the score was just 3-1 when Berrios was removed from the game. Things really fell apart once the bullpen took over. It took five different relievers to get through the final three innings. Yep, must be September. It’s really funny how pitching stats work out sometimes. In the box score, Buddy Boshers gave up zero earned runs over 0.1 innings, but he came in and gave up a massive two-run single that increased Tampa’s lead to 6-1 before recording the final out of that inning. One big difference between earlier in the year and now is that when the Twins are losing big, early in the season that typically meant we’d get to see Chris Gimenez pitch. Now, it means we get to see Glen Perkins pitch. He walked the first two batters he faced before getting a groundout and maxed out at 90.9 mph tonight. Both those runners eventually came around to score after Perkins had been lifted for Tyler Duffey. There was a bit of a scary moment in this one, as Mitch Garver was involved in a collision at home plate with Steve Souza Jr., who is 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. That’s not supposed to happen anymore right? Yes, but sometimes two guys are just in the same place at the same time. https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/904903303808602112 There is more video available of this game … but you don’t want to see most of it. There were a few bright spots. Brian Dozier hit his 28th homer of the season. His career high is 42, of course, but he’s now tied his second-best home run total in a season. Joe Mauer also hit his 30th double and Byron Buxton stole his 25th base. Doing these things every day has helped me realize a bit why “take things one day at a time” is such a baseball cliche. These guys do this everyday. If you think too far ahead or dwell too much on the past, things aren’t going to go well for you in the present. This was an ugly loss. The Twins have had quite a few of these over the season, though it’s been a while. They’ve lost three out of four now, but we’ve seen this before and survived worse. And you know what? They’re still in a wild card spot despite all that ugliness. But ... it will be very interesting to see how Molitor manages this huge bullpen going forward. There aren't many (if any) guys who have defined roles right now. That can be great in theory, but I'm not so sure the Twins have the personnel or manager to pull that off. Standings Another part of the sting from Monday’s loss was the fact that the Yankees and Angels both won. So the Twins trail New York by three games and hold just a 0.5 game lead over Anaheim. Cleveland also won again. That’s 12-straight victories now. They lead the Central by 10 games. Postgame With Molitor https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/904903137042997248 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Looking Ahead Tue: Twins (Bartolo Colon) at Tampa Bay (Jake Odorizzi), 6:10 pm CT Wed: Twins (Aaron Slegers) at Tampa Bay(Blake Snell), 12:10 pm CT Thu: Twins (Kyle Gibson) at Kansas City (Sam Gaviglio), 7:15 pm CT Looking Back KC 5, MIN 4: What Even Is A Swing, Anyway? MIN 17, KC 0: What Negative Run Differential? KC 7, MIN 6: Oh, So Close
  25. This is like a choose your own adventure recap. If you wanna get to the good stuff, just go ahead and scroll down to Game 2. Otherwise, buckle up for a whole lotta ugliness from Game 1. GAME 1 Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs) Top 3 Twins per WPA: Polanco .175, Gee .167, Buxton .088 The day didn’t get off to a good start for the Twins. Not only did they get beat handily, but they had to use five guys from the bullpen to cover five innings, thanks to another short start from Kyle Gibson. Not what you want to have happen in your first of seven games scheduled over a stretch of just five days. Gibson lasted just four innings, and it took him 97 pitches to get that far. He gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk. He also hit two batters and threw a wild pitch. Regardless, the Twins managed to stick around in this game and were trailing 3-2 heading into the eighth inning. Ryan Pressly gave up a three-run homer and a solo shot in the eighth, crushing any hopes of a Twins late-inning comeback. What that did allow, however, is a low-leverage spot for Glen Perkins to make his 2017 debut. It was a long journey back from torn labrum surgery, and Perk deserves credit just for working his way back to a big league mound, but he’ll hope for better results the next time out. He faced six batters and only got one out, surrendering two runs on a pair of singles, two hit batsmen and a walk. Below are Perkins’ velo readings from the game via Baseball Savant. He averaged 91.3 mph on his fastball. He was at 93.7 back in 2015. How about the lineup? Well, they set a team record by striking out 19 times. They got the bases loaded with no outs in the first inning and couldn’t score. And, to top it all off, they made some poor baserunning plays, too. Jorge Polanco got picked off at second base on an odd Max Kepler bunt attempt. https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/898340976736874496 And Eddie Rosario hit a ball high off the wall that somehow failed to score Joe Mauer from second base and only advanced Miguel Sano 90 feet. The ball hit at least halfway up the wall in right-center field, at least 10 feet up, and neither Cleveland outfielder was faking out the runners. Hard to see why Mauer didn’t get a better read. https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/898341791455367168 Byron Buxton was a bright spot, as he hit his seventh homer, drew a walk and scored twice. https://twitter.com/TheRenderMLB_/status/898249012645687296 GAME 2 Win Expectancy (via Fangraphs) Top 3 Twins per WPA: Slegers .242, Kepler .136, Escobar .101 The Twins desperately needed a starting pitcher to provide them length, so why not the 6-foot-10 Aaron Slegers? He delivered 6.1 innings, and surely could have gone longer, but Paul Molitor decided to let him end his major league debut on a high note after just 82 pitches. The only run Slegers gave up while he was on the hill was on a solo homer, which was also one of just two hits he surrendered. He walked two men and had three strikeouts. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Slegers became the first Twins pitcher to throw at least 6.0 innings and allow two or fewer hits in his debut since Pat Mahomes in 1992. Slegers, the Twins fifth-round pick in 2013, opened up the game by setting down Cleveland 1-2-3 in both the first and second innings. He also faced the minimum in the third inning, thanks to a double play. He opened the fourth by retiring the first two batters he faced, then gave up the homer to Jay Bruce, his 30th of the year. Slegers followed that up with a four-pitch walk to Edwin Encarnacion, but just when it looked like he may be unravelling, he got Carlos Santana to ground out to end the inning. Then it was right back to where he started. Slegers again had 1-2-3 innings in both the fifth and sixth innings. Brian Dozier helped out with an web gem on a slow roller that got past the big man. https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/898353541965910017 He opened the seventh by getting some revenge on Bruce, striking him out, before giving up a single to Encarnacion. That ended Slegers’ night, but unfortunately Trevor Hildenberger allowed Encarnacion to score, tacking on an earned run to Slegers’ line and costing him a shot at picking up the win. Below is some data on pitch usage and velocity for Slegers, via Baseball Savant (FF stands for four-seam fastball and FT is the two-seamer). The repertoire/usage reminds me a lot of Bartolo Colon, though it’s not a perfect comp. He throws a whole lotta fastballs even though they don’t really light up the radar gun and just enough other stuff to keep hitters honest. Here’s hoping Slegers will be back up and able to soak up some knowledge from Colon. Slegers served as the 26th man for the doubleheader, so he’ll rejoin Rochester. Mauer and Eduardo Escobar each had three hits, but Max Kepler came up with the biggest hit of the game, pounding the go-ahead homer in the seventh inning, his 15th of the season. https://twitter.com/TheRenderMLB_/status/898359812408446976 Robbie Grossman fractured his thumb in a collision with Buxton (who is just fine) in the outfield. It’s possible this will end Grossman’s season. It was also reported Nik Turley was at Target Field Thursday night, so expect a few transactions coming. https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/898363484005683201 Postgame With Slegers https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/898371889663361025 Twins W-L Record Overall: 60-59 (.504) Last 10: 7-3 (.700) Last 20: 11-9 (.550) Last 40: 20-20 (.500) Last 80: 39-41 (.488) AL Central Standings Cleveland 66-53 Kansas City 61-59 (-5.5) Minnesota 60-59 (-6.0) AL Wild Card Standings WC1: Yankees 65-55 WC2: Angels 62-59 Kansas City 61-59 (-0.5) Minnesota 60-59 (-1.0) Seattle 61-61 (-2.0) Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Looking Ahead FRI: Twins (Ervin Santana) vs. Arizona (Zack Godley), 7:10 pm CT SAT: Twins (Jose Berrios) vs. Arizona (Zack Greinke) 6:10 pm CT SUN: Twins (Bartolo Colon) vs. Arizona (TBD), 1:10 pm CT Question of the Day With Grossman injured, would you like to see as the primary DH?
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